I am Sarah Yoon: a writer, a teacher, a wife. This blog is mainly literary. I enjoy posting quotes from the greats, tips on writing, and book reviews. Other things slip in as well. Tea, especially. And my Etsy jewelry shop. Please stop by and browse!
Have you ever looked in the mirror so long that you started loathing your own reflection? You notice each flaw. Your nose isn’t shaped the way you’d like. Your skin tone is less than perfect. Those pimples just keep popping up again, no matter what you do.
I do this all the time with my writing. I examine it so closely that it seems deformed. The sentences are awkward and stunted. Word choice is less than ideal. I’m not even sure if it makes sense anymore.
How do you fix this loathsome level of self-doubt? Here are my tactics for regaining confidence:
If you stare in the mirror and just focus on your nose, of course it’s going to look funny! But look around. Shocker: everyone else has noses. If you just stared and analyzed theirs, they would look funny too.
There are times to analyze, but if you get stuck on that side of the pendulum, you’ll find yourself doubting your own muse. Back away from your story and enjoy it once in a while. It’ll give you the perspective and encouragement you need to move forward.
Do these tactics work for you? How do you overcome self doubt?
I’m at The White Honeysuckle. Enjoy your time on Etsy :) It’s a fun community, and it’s a challenging learning process all at the same time :)
Even though you’ve probably read articles, blog posts, and even books on the art of writing, I’d like to add one more tip. Every writer needs this skill to set his or her writerly dreams into action. It floods the imagination with fresh inspiration, and opens new worlds for exploration. And what is it?
The ability to listen.
For a solid sub-point I should add, asking good questions.
People are very willing to talk about themselves, their lives, their experiences, their grandchildren—you get the point. They’re also excited to talk about their work or studies. Listen to your movies-obsessed friend long enough, and you can get the highlight reel from her film undergrad. You’re bound to hear lots of stories, whether they originate from a classroom of restless freshmen, or from the lore of Hollywood glamour.
Any good journalist knows this right off the bat. But novelists are a different breed. Less outgoing, more introspective. So to those of you who are waiting for inspiration to strike: get out of your house, away from your desk, and talk to people. The post office lady. The random couple that you see at Starbucks every week. The list goes on and on.
Always remember to listen.
Word count in the HP Series:
Sorcerer’s Stones: 76,944
Chamber of Secrets: 85,141
Prisoner of Azkaban: 107,253
Goblet of Fire: 190,637
Order of the Phoenix: 257,045
Half-Blood Prince: 168,923
Deathly Hallows: 198,227
Word count in the LOTR Series:
The Hobbit: 95,022
Fellowship of the Ring: 177,227
Two Towers: 143,436
Return of the King: 134,462
I just got an ad on my tumblr feed from someone that I definitely don’t follow, which basically defeats the purpose of even having a feed. Just the way Facebook ruined their own website. The end is near.
Tumblr, it was great knowing you.
Done with my first full year of teaching!
On one hand, I’m so happy to be done. Grading is killer, especially when I’m not even sure if the kids read all the notes I write on their papers. But the students have been great. Stinkers sometimes, as all students can be, but generally good kids.
I hope I get to see where they end up. (Yo girls, send me a note sometime and let me know how you’re doing, okay?)
Since I’ve been more active with my writing recently, I’ve gotten through chapter 2 (finally!). That chapter often bewilders me, because of one complex scene: Two characters meet another character for the first time, thinking that the party of the third part may or may not be insane. They dialogue, each bringing their own emotions into play as they discuss the safety of another character, who may or may not be in jeopardy.
I feel like I’ve finally kicked it in the butt! I pared it down and followed the flow of thought. A lot of tweaking to go, but it’s manageable :)
Any scenes causing you trouble? Why?